Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Council partnership to help koala numbers climb

Six northern NSW councils will partner with community wildlife conservation groups to strategically allocate close to $1.4 million in funding from the NSW Government’s Koala Strategy.

Department of Planning and Environment Director of Biodiversity Conservation, Alison Schumacher said regional partnerships led by Southern New England Landcare and Friends of the Koala valued at $750,000 and $630,000 respectively were a key element of the investment.

“Nobody knows koalas like the dedicated local conservation groups who are so passionate about this iconic marsupial living in their backyard,” she said.

“Amplifying their local expertise with funding and support from the NSW Koala Strategy will assist koala populations to become more climate resilient and persist for generations to come.”

To coordinate koala conservation projects under each partnership, two dedicated Koala Officers will take a strategic approach to ensure that local actions feed up into the NSW Koala Strategy, Ms Schumacher said.

“Southern New England Landcare is a highly experienced and successful environmental organisation uniquely positioned to ensure the success of koala conservation in the Northern Tablelands.”

“One of priority actions in these areas is to fund localised private land projects to help landholders conserve and restore koala habitat,” she said.

Additionally, $420,000 has been granted to the project through a Commonwealth grant under the Regional Bushfire Recovery for Multiregional Species and Strategic Projects Program.

“The Northern Rivers funding will enable the development of a Regional Koala Conservation Strategy with council partners to guide projects in the area that feed directly into the NSW Koala Strategy,” said Ms Schumacher.

“These projects will include koala habitat restoration, regional communications and support for the koala rehabilitation sector.”

Councils participating in this partnership are:

  • Tweed Shire Council
  • Byron Shire Council
  • Ballina Shire Council
  • Lismore City Council
  • Kyogle Council
  • Richmond Valley Council

Koala Project Officer at Southern New England Landcare, Des Andersen said a strategic approach to koala conservation would support koalas and other native species in the Northern Tablelands region.

“We are proud to lead the Northern Tablelands Koala Conservation Partnership in collaboration with our partners Northern Tablelands Local Land Services, Armidale Regional Council, Uralla Shire Council and University of New England,” said Mr Andersen.

“Working together, we can all help ensure koalas continue to have a future in the Northern Tablelands region,” he said.

Friends of the Koala President, Aliison Kelly said that it was great news that the NSW Government was continuing the partnership from the 2018–21 NSW Koala Strategy.

“Koalas are an iconic part of our community, and recent weather events have devastated koala habitat,” said Ms Kelly.

“It’s fantastic that we now have a dedicated officer who can coordinate koala conservation projects in the region with a strategic approach, directly supported by the NSW Koala Strategy,” she said.

“This will build on the dedicated koala work happening across the region, including developing private land conservation agreements to secure important koala habitat.”

The NSW Koala Strategy is backed by more than $190 million – the biggest commitment by any government to a single species in Australia. The strategy delivers a range of targeted conservation actions to secure more habitat, support community conservation, address key threats to koala safety and health, and utilise science and research to build our knowledge.

Further information is available at NSW Koala Strategy.

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